Guernsey Lily

Guernsey Lily - Garden Basics - Flower - Bulb

(Nerine bowdenii)

Guernsey Lily Guernsey Lilies bloom in clusters of 10 blossoms on 1- to 2-foot leafless stalks in late summer or fall. The flowers are 1- to 3-inch in diameter have prominent pollen-bearing stamens. The petals are accented by dark center lines and seem to glow.

The long strap-shaped leaves start to grow about the time the flowers open, and continue to grow through the winter and spring. The foliage withers away in midsummer as the plant prepares to send up new flower stalks. Guernsey lilies are teriffic as cut flowers, and they are great additions to container or rock gardens.

Nerine lilies can be grown in containers in any zone as long as they are moved indoors over winter. They can be grown in the garden in zones 8-10, where they prefer light shade. Plant the bulbs in midsummer or early fall, spacing them 8 inches apart burying them 8 inches deep. Apply a light feeding of bulb fertilizer each month while the leaves are growing.

Nerine blossoms freely in crowded pots. Add a little ground limestone and a dusting of bone meal to the potting soil, and leave the top half of each bulb exposed. Begin watering when the flower stalks appear, then keep the mix moist and feed with a slow-release fertilizer as the package directs while the leaves continue to grow throughout winter and spring. In summer, stop watering and feeding when their leaves wither. Except in frost-free climates, containers must be brought indoors to a cool, brightly lighted location in winter. Repot every four or five years.

Propagate from bulblets or from seeds. Seedlings take three to four years to reach flowering size.

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